SAN ANGELO – Attendees to the upcoming Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference May 3-4 in San Angelo are in for the rare treat of touring two area ranches, the conference coordinator said.

SAN ANGELO – Attendees to the upcoming Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference May 3-4 in San Angelo are in for the rare treat of touring two area ranches, the conference coordinator said.

“We will be touring two historic Concho Valley ranches — the Duff Ranch and the Head of the River Ranch — the second day of the event and ending the conference that evening at the beautiful Christoval Winery,” said Josh Blanek, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent in Tom Green County.

The conference, funded by the Ruth and Eskel Bennett Endowment and hosted by AgriLife Extension, will start at 8 a.m. May 3 in San Angelo’s McNease Convention Center, 501 Rio Concho Drive. The May 4 tour portion will also depart from the convention center after an on-site breakfast served at 7:30 a.m.

Individual registration for the public event is $75. Registration will be accepted the day of the event. More information on the trust and complete conference information is available at https://agrilife.org/bennetttrust/ or by contacting Blanek at 325-659-6523.

The first tour stop will be on the Duff Ranch, which recently received the Texas Department of Agriculture Family Land Heritage Award for continuous operation by the same family for 100 years. Stops on the ranch will feature various aspects of responsible brush management, Blanek said.

“We’ll see examples of the benefits of prescribed fire on southern Tom Green County rangeland and see pasture being prepared with fire breaks for future burning as well as recently burned sites and another site two years post-burn,” Blanek said.

“Dr. Morgan Russell, AgriLife Extension range specialist at San Angelo, will also be on hand to demonstrate individual plant treatment equipment and explain the latest in chemical brush control using these methods. Trip Hallman of the ranch will discuss how landowners can work with energy companies to benefit their properties.”

After lunch served at the Duff Ranch headquarters, the tour will travel to the Head of the River Ranch, a property Blanek described as being steeped in a rich history.

“This beautiful ranch is where the South Concho River originates from springs bubbling from the rock,” he said. “Ryland Howard and son Anson will discuss the ranch’s considerable history, which includes the beginnings of the American quarter horse. We’ll also hear how the owners plan to pass the ranch down to future generations through well thought out successional plans.”

Other presentations at the ranch will include discussions of establishing riparian buffers, and livestock and wildlife management in the ranch’s riparian areas. Speakers will be Dr. Reid Redden, AgriLife Extension state sheep and goat specialist at San Angelo, and Dr. John Tomecek, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist at Thrall.

“The tour’s last stop is the Christoval Winery, located among the large live oak trees on the South Concho River,” Blanek said. “There participants will end the conference in high style while being treated to a wine production and wine tasting session before traveling back to the convention center in San Angelo.”